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Idea Cellular lost 4.2M data connections in Q1FY18; net loss at Rs 617Cr

Idea Cellular lost a total of 4.21 million mobile Internet connections during the quarter ended June 2017 (Q1FY18), down to 38.12 million from 42.23 million data connections last quarter. Comparing this to the same quarter last year (Q1FY17), Idea had 49.05 million data connections. The telco also lost 6.35 million mobile data connections in Q4FY17 and another 532,000 4G only connections in Q3FY17 after Reliance Jio’s aggressive entry into the market.

Out of 4.11 million data connections that it lost in this quarter, 1.73 million connections were on 3G, while the rest were on the 2G standard. However, it gained 3.41 million 4G data connections during the quarter, showing signs of recovery from the intensively competitive market.  Idea’s 4G connection base has gone from 3.06 million at the end of March 2017 to around 6.47 million 4G data connections at the end of June 2017. On a Year-on-Year basis, Idea has gone from 1.8 million 4G connections in June 2016 to 6.47 million in June 2017.

Data usage and ARPU

Idea’s 4G data volume usage stood at 67.62 billion MB at the end of the quarter, increasing significantly from 18.67 billion MB in the preceding quarter. The company said that it had 31.8 million 4G devices on its network during Q1 FY18, compared to 24.3 million 4G devices in the preceding quarter. The number of 4G cell towers increased to above 46,500 from 40,852 in the preceding quarter. Idea currently has 4G in 15 circles out of the 22 circle it operates in.

Note that Idea reports both 4G and 3G services under Mobile Broadband. The segment’s average revenue per user (ARPU) dropped significantly to Rs 119 in Q1FY18 from Rs 142 in the same quarter last year. Idea’s mobile broadband ARPU also saw a continuous decrease from since Q1FY17 due to competitive pressure from the telecom industry post launch of Reliance Jio. But on a quarter-on-quarter basis, Idea’s data ARPU increased marginally to Rs 119 from Rs 100 in the previous quarter

Voice usage

The telco is also losing money on its voice segment: Voice ARPU has been dropping constantly from Rs 130 in Q1FY17 to a low of Rs 107 in Q4FY17. But similar to increase in data ARPU, the voice ARPU grew by small margin on a QoQ basis. It grew at a flat rate of Rs 107 minutes in the previous quarter to just 108 minutes in the current quarter.

3G business

-Idea reported 19.88 million 3G subscribers, down 8% from 21.61 million 3G subscribers in the preceding quarter.
– 3G data volume, however, increased 88.4% from 85.54 billion MB in the previous quarter to 161.17 billion MB in the current quarter.
– The number of 3G sites also increased to 70,810 from 69,202 in the previous quarter.
– 3G phone penetration: 79.9 million Idea users own 3G devices which increased from 61.4 million 3G devices in the same quarter last year. Note this also includes customers who own 4G phones.

Mobile Internet business (2G+ 3G +4G)

– Mobile Internet volume grew marginally to 252.82 billion MB, from 127.01  billion MB in the previous quarter.
– Blended Internet ARPU (2G + 3G+4G) decreased marginally to Rs 141 from Rs 142 in the previous quarter. Blended Internet ARPU fell on a constant basis from Rs 181 in Q1-FY17.
– Blended usage per broadband subscriber (2G+3G+4G) increased to 2,204 MB for the quarter, from 957 MB in the previous quarter.


– Idea reported a Net loss of Rs 617 crore during the quarter, compared to a Net Loss of Rs 430 crore in the previous quarter. In the same quarter last year, it reported Rs 497.1 crore as Net profit.
– Gross revenue stood at Rs 8,166.5 crore, a flat growth from Rs 8,126.1 crore in the preceding quarter.
– EBITDA stood at Rs 1,875.3 crore, a fall of 11% from Rs 2,119.9 crore in the preceding quarter.

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